This OS updates and security post is presented by Jamf Now.
Apple’s new operating systems, macOS Catalina and iOS 13, bring innovative capabilities to organizations using them. A streamlined approach to Apple upgrades ensures security measures are met, an accurate systems inventory is maintained and downtime is eliminated. Mobile device management products like Jamf Now help simplify the upgrade process and maintain security of employees’ devices by keeping them up to date.
Why update with Jamf Now?
When devices run on old software, bad things can happen. The user experience, consistency and security could be compromised. And the problems of running old software tend to be further aggravated when an organization uses a single management system to try to support a variety of different devices and OS platforms.
The two main things an OS update usually contains are new features and security fixes. New features can do wonders for productivity, ranging from small improvements in efficiency to wondrous new functionality. Security fixes or patches address recently discovered vulnerabilities in code that attackers can exploit. See, for example, the new features and security improvements in macOS Catalina and iOS 13.
With the release of Apple’s new operating systems, your organization gets a fresh chance to get updates right. Your users may be anxiously awaiting the new features, but you can’t just throw updates out there. You should maintain a systems inventory, test for post-deployment efficacy, and ensure ongoing security and functionality before walking users through the update’s new features. (We’ll get more into that below.)
Why perform updates sooner than later?
As Jamf likes to point out, there are four main reasons organizations should jump on the new OS bandwagon and enable users to update devices right away. That can mean either on “day zero” (when Apple releases the OS) or as soon as possible after that.
- Patch security holes. Don’t fall prey to data breaches and hacks. Old versions of software are almost always more vulnerable than new ones.
- Keep users happy. Apple has gotten users in the habit of quick OS updates with its periodic releases. Your employees could become frustrated if their work devices don’t see updates for weeks or longer after the release.
- Maintain productivity. The sooner you update, the sooner your organization can put the new OS features supporting greater efficiency to work. These can include things like new restrictions and customized Automated Mobile Device Management (MDM).
- Use new IT management features. A new OS typically brings new ways to manage the Apple ecosystem and customize and configure end-user features. Onward and upward!
Jamf’s recommended step-by-step update plan
- Join the Apple Beta Software Program. Apple updates its operating systems on a regular basis. When you’re part of the beta program, you can participate in months of testing ahead of an OS release. You can call problems to Apple’s attention (and inform associated vendors of your current software, too). That helps ensure problems get fixed before they afflict your system. The familiarity you develop with the new OS also will help you understand how your end users will see it, so you can better help them adjust when you roll it out.
- Conduct strategic testing. Testing your entire tech stack will help prepare your organization for a new OS. Take inventory of all web- and non-web-based applications you use, ranking them by order of importance to running your business. Jamf Now can help test new restrictions, management capabilities and features in device deployment and management.
- Conduct macOS Catalina and iOS 13 updates. Using Jamf Now to conduct OS updates is straightforward. The admin sends an MDM command to devices enrolled in Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager. Updates are available for a single device, a group of devices or all devices in an ecosystem. Just click Install Updates. Depending on the number of devices and processes they may have running, updates may take up to 15 minutes.
- Prepare an upgrades communications program. To keep disruption and angry help-desk calls to a minimum, careful planning and communication with end users is key. Make sure they know how long upgrades take and what time of day is best to implement them. Give them a deadline by which you will update for them if they have yet not done so. Recommend localized and iCloud backups prior to updating the OS.
Read more in Jamf Now’s e-book about OS upgrades. If you’re not currently using Jamf Now to upgrade and secure the Apple devices in your business, you can create an account and manage your first three devices free. Get started.